What's the best way to score tests? In this lesson, we'll look at two major types of tests that are scored differently from each other. Norm-referenced tests report whether test takers performed better or worse than a hypothetical average student, which is determined by comparing scores against the performance results of a statistically selected group of test takers, typically of the same age or grade level, who have already taken the exam. Criterion-referenced means the test relates to some sort of established unit of Tags: norm referenced, criterion referenced, assessment.


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Norm referenced assessment a test offers a norm referenced assessment rank, it is a norm-referenced test. Norm-referenced tests are a good way to compensate for any mistakes that might be made in designing the measurement tool.

For example, what if Ricki's math test is too easy, and everybody aces it? If it is a norm-referenced test, that's OK because you're not looking at the actual scores of the students but how well they did in relation to students in the same age group, grade, or class.

Criterion-Referenced But, norm-referenced tests aren't perfect. They aren't completely objective and make it hard to know anything other norm referenced assessment how someone did in comparison to others. But, what if we want to know about a person's performance without comparing them to others?


A criterion-referenced test is scored on an absolute scale with no comparisons made. It is interested in one thing only: Let's go back to our race scenario.

Norm-referenced assessment | UNESCO UIS

Saying that a runner came in third place is norm-referenced because we are comparing norm referenced assessment to the other runners in the race.

A test is criterion-referenced when the performance is judged according to the expected or desired behavior. Tests that judge the test taker based on a set standard e.

The goal of norm referenced assessment criterion-referenced test is to find out whether the individual can run as fast as the test giver wants, not to find out whether the individual is faster or slower than the other runners.

Standards-based education reform focuses on criterion-referenced testing. In this model, it is possible for all test takers to norm referenced assessment or for all test takers to fail.

Norm-referenced test

Advantages and limitations[ edit ] The primary norm referenced assessment of norm-reference tests is that they can provide information on how an individual's performance on the test compares to others in the reference group.

A serious limitation of norm-reference tests is that the reference group may not represent the current population of interest.

As noted by the Oregon Research Institute 's International Norm referenced assessment Item Pool website, "One should be very wary of using canned "norms" because it isn't obvious that one could ever find a population of which one's present sample is a representative subset.

  • Norm-referenced test - Wikipedia
  • Norm and criterion referenced assessments | EdCaN
  • Types of Tests: Norm-Referenced vs. Criterion-Referenced - Video & Lesson Transcript |
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  • Norm-referenced assessment

Most "norms" are misleading, and therefore they should not be used. Far more defensible are local norms, which one norm referenced assessment oneself. For example, if one wants to give feedback to members of a class of students, one should relate the score of each individual to the means and standard deviations derived from the class itself.

To maximize informativeness, one can provide the students with the frequency distribution for each scale, based on these local norms, and the individuals can then find and circle their own scores on these relevant distributions.

Another disadvantage of norm-referenced tests is norm referenced assessment they cannot measure progress of the population as a whole, only where individuals fall within the whole.